Africa Blog Roundup: Kenya’s Elections, Nigeria’s Trains, DDR in South Sudan, and More

Ken Opalo: “Who Will Win the Kenyan Presidential Election?”

If the polls are right Uhuru Kenyatta still leads Raila Odinga by about 740,000 votes.  I estimate that Mr. Kenyatta will get 48.87% of the votes cast to Mr. Odinga’s 41.72%, which means that a run-off is almost inevitable. I don’t expect Mr. Kenyatta to hit the 50% mark since my model is slightly biased in his favor (especially coming from the Rift Valley turnout figures from 2007 that I use as a basis of estimating turnout in 2013).

Trains: Will Ross with a link to a BBC podcast segment on the Lagos-Kano Express. And Shelby Grossman with a photograph of a terminal under construction along a planned railway from Lagos to Cotonou.

Afendi Muteki: “The Oromo of Harerghe: On the Evolution of Urban Centers [in Ethiopia],” parts one and two.

Jairo Munive: “Disarmament, Demobilization And Reintegration In South Sudan: Feasible Under Current Conditions?”

Nasser Weddady on George Bush, Francois Hollande, and Mali.

Aaron Zelin compiles three new reports from Somalia’s Al Shabab.

I was thinking yesterday that my “Local Media Sources” list (in the right sidebar) was looking a bit thin, so I made some additions. Any suggestions for others to add?

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15 thoughts on “Africa Blog Roundup: Kenya’s Elections, Nigeria’s Trains, DDR in South Sudan, and More

  1. Please that terminal is for the Lagos light rail system, it is to link the Satellite Town Area (near Badagry) to Lagos Island. It has nothing to do with Cotonou.

    If Shelby Grossman was reading Nigerian newspapers, she would have known this, it is all over the news.

  2. Odd bit of news, reportedly three foreign doctors were killed (murderers currently unknown) in northeastern Nigeria. That wouldn’t be strange in itself, but there are conflicting reports of them being Chinese, South Korean or North Korean. You would think that would be a fairly easy thing to verify, just check their passports.

    • They’re North Koreans. Some state governments in Northern Nigeria employ North Koreans as medical personnel and Nigeria actually has diplomatic and military ties with North Korea.

      • Diplomatic ties don’t surprise me but military ones? What information there is about North Korea suggests that its military is large, but it isn’t impressive.

      • Not really. First that article is about nuclear weapons and missiles. If Nigeria is wasting its resources on nuclear weapons that’s foolish enough, if your concern is terrorism than nuclear weapons are absolutely useless to you. The second issue that the North Korean military is, to put it bluntly, horrible. Even with the ‘military first’ policy defectors still report serious shortages of ammunition* and as far as can be told North Korean military strategy is to rely on the U.S. and South Korea not wanting to put up with the damage North Korea’s shelling would cause Seoul.
        Also North Korea has never tackled terrorism. Ever. They’ve used terrorists in the past and they have connections with terrorist organizations but their military has never had to combat terrorism.
        Russia I could understand. India, France, the U.K. and the U.S. I could understand. All those are powerful nations with experience in conventional and guerrilla warfare. For North Korea the only possible reason I can think of would be missile technology and Nigeria’s security concerns are less about organized armies from neighboring nations and more small groups of militants moving across the region.

        In other words a military relationship with North Korea doesn’t address Nigeria’s needs in any way.

        *And with so little fuel they can barely put pilots in the air for hours of training in a year.

      • Please listen a bit carefully to those of us who live in Nigeria. Nigerian soldiers have been sent for training in North Korea in the past – and it has nothing to do with missiles (a cover).

        Remember Mugabe found the North Koreans very useful – and not for their missiles.

        Please look at the picture in the link below (of Nigerian soldiers and their North Korean trainers): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OBOWU-USA/message/5609

      • And I’ll say it again. Until Nigeria’s security concern is a near-total economic failure, a far richer and more attractive neighbor and the enmity of the most powerful nation on Earth there really isn’t much that North Korea has to offer. I could understand not going to China for that training, China hasn’t fought a war since the 1970s and some parts of its military haven’t fought since the 1950s. But why not India? It’s got plenty of experience with conventional and unconventional war. What exactly does North Korea have that anyone would want (besides absolute secrecy)?

      • Nobody really thinks the US (or the West) has been particularly successful in fighting Islamist terrorism.

        North Koreans are experts in repression (so are the Chinese). Some people find that model for dealing with terrorism more attractive than whatever method the US is up to in Afghanistan.

        For anyone without scruples, the most “successful” campaign against terrorism was Sri Lanka (against the Tamil Tigers). It was scorched earth, but the terrorist threat was thoroughly defeated.

        Algeria is another example – total eradication. Consider the typical African Army, what method is best suited to their mode of operation? The complex American “counter-insurgency” model or the simpler brutality of the North Koreans/Chinese/Sri Lankans/Algerians?

      • There are many ways of dealing with terrorists, Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein were more successful in dealing with terrorists than any Western Military force in the Middle East – and they managed to accomplish that with far less resources.

        If the North Korean regime had the same problem with terrorism, they would have dealt with the terrorists as efficiently as Gaddafi or Saddam. They would “terrorize” the terrorists and fight a “no holds barred” scorched earth campaign.

        It isn’t difficult to see how elements of these methods would be attractive to certain African leaders. E.g. how do you get a population to fear the state security services more than the terrorists?

        There’s also assistance on torture techniques (Chinese can also provide low-cost signal interception equipment etc).

      • One last thing, the Nigeria has considerable latitude to act – as everyone wants Nigerian oil & the Nigerian Army for peace-keeping.

        When Abacha was dictator, we were “under sanctions”, but Clinton bought every single drop of our crude he could and the Nigerian Army was keeping the peace in Liberia & Sierra Leone.

      • I’m not even sure where to start in response to that.
        Maybe that Saddam actually was never that successful in dealing with terrorism (nor was Qaddafi).
        Maybe the incredible stupidity of mistaking conventional military tactics (which in North Korea is limited to ‘lots of men and threaten civilian targets’) with counter-terrorism.
        Maybe the fact that it’s pretty widely known that torture is not a remotely useful interrogation technique.
        Maybe the fact that the Tamil Tigers had transitioned to a more conventional force when they were defeated.
        Maybe the fact that trying to replicate Chinese or North Korean control of society in a nation so far away from China’s circumstances is about as smart as trying to replicate nation building methods in Japan in the 1950s with nation building in Afghanistan in the 2000s (and that trying to replicate North Korean control at all is an exercise in insane national suicide).

        I honestly wonder if you’re even the same person I’ve been writing to before. Whatever the case, that was so foolish, based on ridiculous comparisons and arguing easily countered arguments that I’m not even going to bother to respond to you after this. In a way that’s an accomplishment, there are only three or four other people across the internet that I’ve assigned that distinction to.

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